Helen Vendler is one of those rare scholar-writers who doesn’t adhere to a particular school of theory. In her new book of essays, she explains her view of criticism as distinct from both philosophy and scholarship, as a form of learning that’s inherently “unsystematic and idiosyncratic.” In Open Letters Monthly, Jack Hanson reads through the book. You could also read Jonathan Farmer on Rita Dove’s letter to Vendler.
At one time considered to be the work of demons or incubi, sleep paralysis – the “transition state between wakefulness and rest characterized by complete muscle atonia” – has since become accepted as a well-documented and not very uncommon phenomenon. Still, “the experience can be terrifying,” writes Karen Emslie in her recent piece about making the best of the condition.